The Czech Republic got their EuroBasket qualifying campaign off to a winning start as they downed Bosnia and Herzegovina 70-56 in Pardubice on Wednesday night.
The hosts had been on the back foot in the early stages, but began to establish themselves late in the first quarter and a pair of free throws from Jiri Welsch sparked 14-2 run that continued deep into the second period and saw them turn a four-point deficit into a 24-16 lead.
The visitors came back to tie it up 27-27 on Nihad Dedovic's lay-up with 3:04 left in the half but the Czechs held a one point advantage, 30-29, at the break, and began to pull clear again in the third.
When Jiri Hubalek tipped in Welsch's miss at the 6:15 mark in the third quarter, it sparked a 13-1 run that put the Czechs into a position they would not relinquish again.
Petr Benda led the Czechs with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Ladislav Sokolovsky had 13 points and Welsch 11 and five assists.
Mirza Teletovic led Bosnia and Herzegovina with 10 points while Ermin Jarzin added 10.
"We have played our worst game today. Defensively there was no intensity and toughness to our game, on offense we did not set any screens and again did not initiate any contact with our opponents. It's hard to win if you make only one shot from the perimeter in each half. I believe that the Czech team just wanted to win more than we did today. The most important thing for my team right now is to forget about this loss as soon as possible and focus on the remainder of the qualifiers, especially on our first home game against Israel."
Michal Jezdik, Czech republic coach:
"We knew we would face a strong opponent with a quality roster today. I told my players that we would have to fight for every possesion, every ball and rebound for 40 minutes if we wanted to have a chance to win. I think we successfully managed to break the Bosnian offensive game because they managed to score only 56 points. Our concentration lacked a bit at the end of the game otherwise we could have won with even greater difference. However, considering the quality and experience of the opposing players, I think today's final score was a just result."